Press Office Feature : Hollard is the first South African insurer on Wikipedia
|Posted:||04 Jul 2007|
“Unlike a one-way, company controlled corporate website, Hollard sees the two-way Web 2.0 technology of Wikipedia as a vital 21st century method of interacting openly and honestly with the online community and we’re climbing in on the ground floor boots and all,” says Lesiba Sethoga (Pictured right), of Hollard Communications who is driving the project.
“Anyone is free to comment about our company as well as the insurance industry at large and that keeps us connected and totally in tune with thinking in the immediate present, with no time lag."
"Wikipedia has 75 000 active contributors working on over 5 million articles in more than a hundred languages and Hollard has to be there at the start … particularly in view of our active Afro-Global expansion program.”
Mantsika Matooane, head of Hollard’s IT division had first hand experience of the global power of Wikipedia on a recent overseas trip. “I flew to our Australian office recently to meet potential partners and it was enormously satisfying to hear that they had learned about Hollard from Wikipedia."
"This experience proved beyond question that in this day and age a brochure, or even a company-controlled website, isn’t sufficient to achieve the expanded presence a company needs to be significant players on the global stage.”
Hollard now has offices established in Australia, India, UK, Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana – with China opening soon and more on the way.
Sethoga explains Wikis are one of the most significant and powerful Web 2.0 technologies to emerge online. “With their two-way communication capacity they are a perfect interaction device and are invaluable for instant knowledge and intelligence sharing. We feel a sense of achievement to be the first insurer in South Africa to take this quantum leap into the future.”
He says the online community with whom Hollard is now engaging openly and globally through Wikipedia includes existing policyholders as well as buyers of insurance, brokers, stakeholders, potential partners and a wide range of knowledge gatherers – including the media.
Hollard also takes Wikis internal
Quick to spot the value of the two-way Wikipedia concept for external communication, Hollard is also using the technology for internal communications, knowledge management and information sharing.
Sethoga says “With eight divisions in South Africa and six established international offices Hollard’s ‘inhouse’ information sharing and knowledge management has extreme demands of its own and wiki-type communication is an amazing tool that is helping us to collaborate and share information in instant and simple ways.
“It is also proving to be a great help in sustaining a ‘family spirit’. Our high achievements over the past five years in the Financial Mail/Deloitte Best Insurance Company to Work For surveys are evidence of our focus on our people and our culture."
"This new two-way online capacity means Hollardites here and all over the world can instantly share pictures and reports of events as they happen which fosters a community spirit.
“One of the challenges of our Global-Expansion activities is establishing a similar vibrant and creative culture in newly established offices in other countries where established corporate attitudes are often more conservative and hierarchical."
"But we want our innovative flair and passion to flourish in all our offices and this technology is assisting in that cross-pollination of Hollard’s unique culture – which we believe affects our bottom line in producing and attracting great, forward-thinking people.”
Hollard has adopted several Web 2.0 powered tools for internal knowledge management and info sharing such as Facebook, Flickr and LinkedIn. “Through these we have global conversations, build all kinds of relationships as well as network. Beyond the business card, online networking through LinkedIn is a powerful ally through which our team managing Hollardites are able to connect with 11 million peers around the world representing 150 industries,” Sethoga explains.
“We believe that open and honest conversations need to be stimulated in many different directions for better bottom line results. These conversations need to take place among our own Hollardites and eight divisions, with our customers, between team-mates and team-leaders who can find inspiration and energy in each other’s activities.
“With the knowledge explosion affecting all areas of business, managing and distributing information efficiently and quickly is becoming more challenging in terms of sheer volume."
"Web 2.0 technology is proving to be a very effective tool for breaking down the tendency to get so involved in your own area of business that you fail to see the big corporate – and global – picture."
"Insurance touches all areas of life and business. Without insurance the modern world could not operate. So we, in the insurance business, have to have a broad view at all times to keep ahead of upcoming consumer needs and business opportunities.”
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